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ST. LUC I A.
RETURN to an Address to His Majesty, dated 9 February 1832 ;-for,
COPIES of MEMORIALS and REPRESENTATIONS of the Council
and INHABITANTS, regarding the EXPENDITURE of the Colony of St. Lucia, addressed to Lord Viscount Goderich; and Copies of DESPATCHES in reply
to the above.
Downing Street, 21 February 1832.
Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed,
27 February 1832.
No. 1.-COPY of a Despatch from Lieutenant-Colonel Bozon to Viscount Goderich, dated St. Lucia, 19th August 1831
- P. 3
No. 2.--Copy of a Despatch from Viscount Goderich to the Officer administering the
Government of St. Lucia, dated Downing-street, 5th November 1831 - po 10
No. 3.—Copy of a Despatch from Lieutenant-Colonel Bozon to Viscount Goderich, dated
St Lucia, 10th September 1831
No.4.-Copy of a Despatch from Viscount Goderich to the Officer administering the
Government of St. Lucia, dated Downing-street, 17th November 1831 - p. 15
EXPENDITURE OF THE ISLAND OF ST. LUCIA. .
COPIES of MEMORIALS and REPRESENTATIONS of the Council and
INHABITANTS of the Island of St. Lucia, regarding the EXPENDITURE of the Colony.
DESPATCH from Lieutenant-Colonel Bozon to Lord Viscount Goderich,
&c. &c. &c.
St. Lucia, 19th August 1831, IN forwarding for your Lordship’s consideration, the Representation of three Members of the Privy Council, praying for a Reduction of Public Salaries, &c. &c. I deemed it correct to refer the Scale they submitted, as existing in 1824, with that which did actually exist at that period, and a variety of other Statements which do not appear to be correct.
Having been a very short time in the Administration of the Government of this Colony, the Chief Secretary, in compliance with my directions, has made his observations on the Statements contained in the said Representation.
I have, &c.
Administ& the Govt.
THE undersigned, Members of Council, solicit His Excellency the Acting Governor, to have their Representation transmitted herewith, inserted in the Books of Council, and forwarded to His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, at as early a period as possible.
1.- The state of distress to which this unhappy Colony is reduced, froin the heavy and daily increasing Taxation to which it is exposed, compels the undersigned to bring under the view and consideration of His Majesty's Government, their suffering condition, and to implore that their grievances may be looked into.
2.- This Island was subjected, during the last war, to difficulties unknown to the other Colouies. Having been taken at the commencement of it, and retained as a conquered possession until the peace of 1814, the inhabitants, from their indeterminate situation, could not obtain credit to supply the population, which, during the insurrection occasioned by the French Revolution, it had lost in cominon with the Islands of Saint Vincent, Grenada, and Dominica; they were, in consequence, left unaided to struggle with their own reduced internal resources.
3.-After peace took place, and the Island was definitively ceded to England, it was visited successively with fires, hurricanes and deluges, which reduced it for many years to a state of absolute prostration; and nothing short of the most unexampled fortitude, industry and economy on the part of the planters (who all reside with their families upon their estates) could have enabled them to draw a bare subsistence for themselves and their people, out of their nearly annihilated plantations.
4.- In the year 1825, Regulations were sent out by Governinent, for the improvement of the condition of the slaves, and those Regulations were followed up by a consolidated law in 1830. The undersigned, after taking communication of these laws, accepted them, in
compliance with the wishes of Government. However, what has been done for the improvement of the condition of the slaves, has necessarily augmented the Expenditure of the plantations, while the crops have considerably decreased; and this, added to the extreme low prices of colonial produce at home, and the very beavy duties charged there, leaves ihe planier absolutely without the means of supporting himself and his dependents.
5.-In the opinion of the undersigned, the cause of the present extreme low price of their staple commodity (Muscovado Sugar) arises not from the continuance of the war duty on the article in the British market, but chiefly from the too great Equalization of the Duty on East and West India produce, by means of which the West India grower has nearly lost the exclusive advantage he formerly enjoyed of the bome market; whilst he is still compelled to draw his plantation stores from the mother country or her Colonies, at a cousiderably higher rate than he could do from Foreign countries and Colonies, if permitted free of duty; and although it be true that the British West India grower may now legally send his produce to other Foreign countries, yet it is equally true he can reap no benefit whatever from such a measure, because in these markets he has to contend against the coinpetition of the produce of these countries themselves, or of their Colonies, which is either admitted free of duty, or on a very small duty compared with what the British West India grower would have to pay.
6.- The present immediate complaint of the undersigned, is the oppressive Taxation forced upon them to support the Public Establishments; an expense quite disproportionate to the extent of the population of this Island and to the means of its inhabitants.
7.-The undersigned have also to complain of their being called upon to sanction a Taxation, over the application of which they have no control. To meet this Taxation, the planters have, in many instances, seen with deep concern their slaves taken from them by the marshal's men, and sold at a great sacrifice in a distant quarter; and the lower classes have their houses seized upon and disposed of, and the individuals themselves left in a state of absolute indigence.
8.-The amount of Money paid into the Colonial Treasury for the past year, and placed at the disposal of the Governor, was £.18,026. 145. 1 d. sterling.
9.-The number of Slaves attached to plantations amount to about eleven thousand, from which, deducting the superannuated, infirm and children at the charge of the proprietor, leaves about four thousand five hundred effective labourers.
10.-The undersigned beg leave to submit to His Majesty's Ministers, whether it is possible for the fruits of these labourers to ineet such a Taxation, or even to support an Administration upon the most reduced scale, without the aid of His Majesty's Government.
When this Island belonged to France, that Government, considering the revenue of the Colony, from its limited population, to be unequal to the support of an Administration of its own, placed it under that of Martinique; and if the laws of this Island had been similar to those of Barbadoes or Saint Vincent, the undersigned would have suggested the expediency of annexing it to one of them, but this is impracticable. The undersigned look up with every confidence for relief to His Majesty's Ministers
, whose measures at home have hitherto exhibited an anxious desire to put an end to all uncalled-for oppression, and to give every fair encouragement to the industrious and meritorious subject.
This relief can only be obtained by a Reduction of the Public Offices, and of the Salaries attached to them, which may be effected according to the Plans annexed; and which the undersigned beg leave most humbly to submit to the consideration of His Majesty's Ministers, along
with a Statement of the Salaries paid at present to Public Officers, compared with those paid in the year 1824.
(signed) Mich' Jackson.
D. Ferguson. Saint Lucia, 1st August 1831.
PLANS alluded io in our Representations of this date. It being rumoured that His Majesty's Government have it in contemplation to establish Circuit Judges for the Chartered Colonies, we would suggest the expediency of including this Colony amongst the number; in which case the following Appointments would be dispensed with, viz.
The First President of the Royal Court, as that Court would be abolished. The Procureur du Roi and Advocate General, whose duries could be performed by the AttorneyGeneral.
The Lieutenant Seneschal. His duties could be performed by the Seneschal or Judge of
Should His Majesty's Ministers not find it expedient to extend this boon to St. Lucia, the following alteration in Offices and Salaries, would tend materially to relieve the inhabitants of this Colony from their present insupportable burdens; viz.
£. The Governor's Salary to be put upon the same footing as in 1824
The Clerk to the Secretary on account of his long Services in the Office
The following OFFICES to be abolished as quite unnecessary ; viz.
The Lieutenant Seneschal ; his duties to be performed by the Seneschal or Judge of
The situation of Hugh Stewart, Patentee of the Record Office, or of Secretary, being
The Colonial Agent, being a sinecure.
The Interpreter; any services required of him by Government to be paid for.
St. Lucia, 1st Aug. 1831.